Fair Housing: It’s the Law, Damn It.

Fair Housing is one of my big bugaboos. It is for most REALTORS® I’d like to think. In fact, the National REALTOR Association (NAR) has a big website section on it this month because April is National Fair Housing Month.

For me, as a middle-aged, middle-income, white woman, it’s hard to imagine being turned away from a home loan or a neighborhood because of the color of my skin or my gender but it happens and I’m damned lucky. To be turned down for a rental because of my children or my handicap may seem inconceivable, but it happens. It’s also fucking illegal.

The Civil Rights Act of 1968 (as it expanded upon the Civil Rights Act of 1964) was brought to fruition by President Lyndon B. Johnson and amended further over time. A brief history is presented by the Office of Housing and Urban Development here so I won’t bother to go into that. A quick Google will lead you down the tortuous path of people’s pain and horrible experiences.

My own experience with fair housing violations annoyed the crap out of me and resulted in me firing a client.  I was asked to find a townhouse with, “No HOA and no black people.” Right. That’s a negative Ghost Rider and here’s why: it’s illegal and crappy, bitch. Besides, I don’t have that kind of demographics because who would even have the life energy to go around and do that? Before you get snarky, the US Census does have that information, they don’t look at or publish it in that kind of micro-statistic. Besides, no HOA for a townhouse? Good luck fixing that roof leak.

With that in mind, NAR has published a Fair Housing Declaration for REALTORS®

I agree to:

  • Provide equal professional service without regard to the race, color, religion, gender (sex), disability (handicap), familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity of any prospective client, customer, or of the residents of any community.
  • Keep informed about fair housing law and practices, improving my clients’ and customers’ opportunities and my business.
  • Develop advertising that indicates that everyone is welcome, and no one is excluded, expanding my client’s and customer’s opportunities to see, buy, or lease property.
  • Inform my clients and customers about their rights and responsibilities under the fair housing laws by providing brochures and other information.
  • Document my efforts to provide professional service, which will assist me in becoming a more responsive and successful REALTOR®.
  • Refuse to tolerate non-compliance.
  • Learn about those who are different from me and celebrate those differences.
  • Take a positive approach to fair housing practices and aspire to follow the spirit as well as the letter of the law.
  • Develop and implement fair housing practices for my firm to carry out the spirit of this declaration.